Help Extend WP7 battery life [How To]

Smartphones have always had the label of "battery eaters" when compared to a regular mobile phone. A good number of years back, a Nokia 3210 would last for an entire year (although we still believe they were secretly powered by miniature nuclear reactors). Windows Phone 7 is not exempt from this battery life issue for majority of owners, but there are ways to tackle the problem and preserve some battery - at the loss of some functionality.

Screen Brightness

Turning the "auto brightness" feature off and setting the brightness of your screen to low will save a good deal of battery life. Setting the brightness to the low setting will, of course, lower the presentation of the UI slightly. 

Screen Lock With Music

When listening to music on your device, remember to lock the screen if you aren't actively using it.

Dark Theme

Set your UI to use the dark theme in favour of the white background, which will save ample battery with black being the primary colour present.

Screen Time-out

Reducing the screen time-out duration for your device will enable your screen to turn off quicker, saving a good 30 seconds of drain.

BlueTooth & WiFi

Not paired with a anything currently? Not connected and using a WiFi connection? Why not turn these features off when not in use?

Email Synchronisation

Email accounts set with push as opposed to an interval can use an increasing amount of battery power. If you aren't a frequent email checker/user, try turning push email off and setting an interval to suit your usage.

Wireless Synchronisation

Choosing to sync your device to your computer via a USB cable will be more efficient than WiFi, especially since the cable will charge your WP7 device at the same time.

Social Apps & Hubs

All the social enabled apps that you purchase and use from the Marketplace, whether they be for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr etc. all normally auto update/refresh when you open them. Setting them to manually update/refresh (if this setting is present) will allow less battery to be used. Also, the People hub brings down updates from Facebook and other networks like LinkedIn, try minimalizing the amount of times you visit this hub.

OneNote Synchronisation

Synchronising your notes between OneNote on your phone and your Live account is a great feature, but uses battery to carry out the process. Turn this bad boy off! You can find this setting under “Applications” in the settings area.

Xbox Live

Changing the setting that allows the device to auto-connect to the Xbox Live service can preserve battery when you don’t require the connection. Again, this is also found under "Applications".

WP7 Feedback

Disabling the feedback feature will save precious energy, but will prevent Microsoft receiving data from your usage. It is recommended to leave this turned on.

Try different combinations of the suggestions above to reach a level of satisfactory battery drainage. If you are charging your phone over night and manage to go through the entire day without hitting the “low battery” warning, then you shouldn’t need to change any of the above settings. What is your usage like, and have you taken any steps to improve the average daily life?

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I think the less number of email accounts you have, the better the battery consumption will be. But so far, the battery consumption of my LG Optimus 7 is really good as it lasts me an entire day and some on a full charge.
  • Also, do you *really* need up to the minute synchronization? I cranked back my accounts to sync as less often as 2 hours. My battery seems to last longer, and I am certainly not missing anything. On the rare occasion I do need an email "right now," a manual sync is just a tap away.Also, during my commute on a dark bus, I turn my screen brightness down to low. Too bad the rather battery-hungry game I'm playing on the ride negates any savings there. ;)
  • These are great tips!Disabling everything that you do not need such as feedback, location, & other automatic stuff will definitely save your battery life. Also, as bonparisien said, less # of email account will definitely help. Honestly though, it just takes time for your battery to get its full use. After about 2-4 weeks of having your phone last half of the day, it will finally start lasting the whole day.Also, here is another tip..1) Charge your phone ONLY when needed (when the battery is almost dead)2) DO NOT OVER CHRAGE!
  • I believe your last two times are not valid. Battery memory doesn't exist anymore with recent chemistry and the OS will be smart enough to disconnect the charger when the battery is full. This explains why the battery can appear to be charged at 95% instead of 100% in the morning because the full charge would have been reached during the night and the phone would have been running on battery afterwards.
  • I think you're incorrect about the battery overcharging. When the phone is left plugged in that's less time it's spent discharging, thus saving your total charge cycles. Palm used to recommend charging your phone whenever possible (obviously its a different hardware company but still). The consistent piece of advice I've heard from all different kinds of companies is that at least once a month your should fully discharge your battery as overtime the battery level indicator becomes less accurate.
  • Richard, you forgot the most important juice drainer: the GPS. My battery lasts for something like 30-40% more when I deactivate location services. Having the direct connection shortcuts (homebrew) on the start screen obviously makes the task less tedious.
  • Um, Wireless sync only happens when you're charging, so that suggestion is pretty much moot.
  • With regard to the "Wireless Synchronization" tip (I believe you are referring to Zune Sync via WiFi), wireless sync only occurs if you have the phone plugged in to a charger anyway (and it waits until it's been plugged in for 10 minutes), so turning it off would probably just give you extra work when you did want to use it.
  • The phone only syncs over wifi if it's plugged into an outlet, so turning that off won't save any power.
  • These are good tips. I was wondering if there was a way you can disconnect from the Data Network, like I could with Windows Mobile, or be able to switch between EDGE and 3G? I always thought that being disconnected form the data network will save battery life.
  • Yes, easy ... Settings > Cellular.
  • Nokia 3210 had a battery that could last a year? Is that a joke? :-D I had one, and I didn't notice anything near it. Was that test made with the phone completely shut off? Because I have seen other Nokia phones from that exact era that could do that (my father had one that made something similar once), but then they were not turned on during the entire time.
  • Also carry a spare battery and a short usb cable.
  • Thanks for the tips!
  • I get much better battery life on my HD7 than I did on my Palm Pre, it may have to do with GSM technology vs Sprint's CDMA but I'm very satisfied. Always turn off wifi/bluetooth if you're not using it, and if there are periods of time you won't be using your phone turn off 3G. This also helps greatly if you're low on battery. You can even turn off your data connection if battery is critical and you can still send and receive text messages.Avoid talking on the phone and using data at the same time as that's a huge drain as is streaming music and/or video.
  • Wireless sync only occurs when the phone is plugged in to a wall charger and connected over wifi to the same network as a computer it's been configured to sync with.Not sure where you're getting the idea that disabling that will increase battery life. If anything, your battery will charge faster from your wall charger than it will over USB.
  • Very good. It will help the consumers enormously.Namenda
  • "Dark ThemeSet your UI to use the dark theme in favour of the white background, which will save ample battery with black being the primary colour present."LCD screens use the same amount of power no matter what is being displayed on the screen, dark or light. Dark is accomplished on LCD screens by blocking and filtering light from passing through the screen.
  • HE probably meant AMOLED screens Venue Pro, Samsung Phones
  • If you don't use anything but PHONE, battery life on FOCUS is awesome ... 3 or 4 days with a few phone calls.My usage is intermittent, so the SIMPLE access to WIFI and DATA connection on-off is great for me.I assume that Live-Tile updates use battery and data consumption ... so those who are worried about their 200mb plans and their battery life should take live tile apps OFF their start screens, right (sort of defeats the purpose, I suppose).Is there any resource "out there" that has benchmarked live tile data consumption?
  • There are some really great tips here ... very useful for us amateurs!
  • My Current Settings:Dark ThemeWifi/Bluetooth offE-mail Manual Sync30 Seconds Time-outLocation OffData Connection OffBrightness LowFeedback DisabledI just changed it to this by the way. So I hope it lasts longer. :)
  • Thank you for all the useful info posted here! Should help me extend my battery life a bit further.
  • great tips.... I have just put everything OFF.... data off, wifi off, phone calls off.... I also took out the battery from my phone.... now my battery being out of my phone last for days :)